Jewish organization's anti-hate ad rejected by Facebook before Hanukkah

"This, we believe, is an unintended, but calamitous consequence of your effort to curb hate speech," the organization said.
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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
(Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

The Jewish Federation of Broward County, Florida, attempted to purchase an advertisement on Facebook before Hanukkah as part of a "Shine a Light" campaign focusing on antisemitism - but the ad was rejected.

The federation believes it was an unintentional algorithm error.

"Unfortunately, Facebook inexplicably rejected our ads, presumably because they contained the words 'hate' and 'anti-semitism," the federation wrote in a letter to Facebook on Tuesday, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). "This, we believe, is an unintended, but calamitous consequence of your effort to curb hate speech."

Facebook has censored Jewish organizations before, with most problems arising after the platform banned Holocaust denial ads.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum told JTA in June that "it's a real problem" when the organization attempts to promote events. 

Last month, more than 50 Chabad Jewish centers across the country had advertisements for an antisemitism course rejected by Facebook. The Jewish News of Northern California reports that in order to have the ads authorized, the rabbis needed to provide tax identification numbers, photo IDs, and a disclaimer about the ad's sponsor. 

The appeal process can take months, groups report.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.